Monday, October 23, 2006


The doors were supposed to be at 3:00 (ended up being at 4:00) for the show at Zilker Park, and mostly general admission, so people showed up earlier for line sitting than they normally would have (being as it was a Rolling Stones show, the biggest rock and roll production in the world, and not just one of our local bands). Normally people here just show up when the gig starts, so early birds like me can invest an extra hour and get a stageside spot, front and center.

I was the 4th person there on Sunday, the first one being an over-nighter who came over from Japan for the 2 Texas shows and had spend the night in the park. Really nice fellow (you get acquainted with people while line-sitting). My friend arrived soon after I did, and Mr. Blueberry in a few hours. It was cold if you're used to Central Texas - in the 50s in the morning with a strong wind blowing.

Didn't know how they would have the line set up and turns out, there was no "line". For some reason, instead of lining us up in turnstiles (which were already assembled) they chose to allow a huge throng to assemble pressed against a barricade some 20 yards from the entry turnstiles. (Who brought the brain?)

At 4:00 pm the guy with the bullhorn told us that when they took the barricade sections apart, that we were not to go anywhere until one of the yellow jacketed security turned it sideways They also laid out some BS about not running and proceeding to the frisking lanes in an orderly fashion. Not gonna happen, dude. It was a combination of the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby and the bucking bronco pens at the rodeo. When the sections were turned we on the front line all went like bats out of hell!!

Here's where it all turned into the great land grab where only the fittest survive. We put Mr. B in front since he was the fittest of the 3 of us and nobody was to stop and wait for anyone! The run was about a quarter of a mile from the gates to the stage, and I was totally huffing and puffing after a few sprints. I don't run. I've never run, even in high school I could barely make it around the track. I can stand or walk for hours, but running doesn't happen.

Luckily Mr. B got a great spot on the front row on the right side middle and I joined him there. My friend decided to stay a bit back since she was next to the passage of conveyor-driven b-stage that goes down the center. Here's a pic from the paper (links for more at bottom) of the luckies who grabbed my first choice of spots. Notice that they are not in their 50s. Not complaining though - we got a front row for the Rolling Stones! (It's my second time for that, the first time was in 1969)

The on-stage seating (for ~$650) is in the towers, see the little people sitting in there?

The show was absolutely fantastic. There is no show on earth like the Stones. I would nominate them to be a candidate for Replacement Wonders of the World. (I know... they won't be around forever... but neither were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Colossus of Rhodes!). I actually got some pictures, and Mick's brother Chris Jagger was in town for a film festival and will be producing a DVD of the show. We will be in it, I'm pretty sure.

Quite a few people had to be hauled out of the crowd over the front fence by security - some for behavior problems, some for medical, some a little of both I imagine! It was so sad - several of them were older ladies in their Rolling Stones t-shirts - looking very ill, and sad too I'm sure - that they went through the whole ordeal of the line (not to mention the $100 ticket) and stampeding like a herd of buffalo to the stage only to have to miss the show!

I like this backlit picture I took of Keef.

While they were playing, some group of VIPs came down and stood right in front of us in the photo pit - generally partying and looking permanent. The guy on my left finally asked them how they were able to be standing there, and after a couple of wisecracks like "we paid $75,000 for this special package yada yada" he said that they were the people who put on the ACL Festival (and he could have added "Lollapalooza, and the Stones show you're watching now"). It was the Charlies (Attal, Jones et al, Capital Sports, etc.)

Oh... okaaay.

Then the woman who was on our right (not knowing who they were or caring) got the attention of one of them and said "I'm in a wheelchair and you're blocking my view. Are you going to stand there for the whole show?" heh heh... Actually that worked out very well, because they not only moved out of our way but they made sure she was doing fine for the rest of the night - even brought her a handful of Stones guitar picks!

My friend did not have a very good time. The guy next to her, after boring her with drunken tales of family problems, peed on her shoes-- not once, but twice! Also the b-stage was too high to able to see very well as it went by, so it was all disappointing for her.

Awesome Texan sax player Bobby Keys there on the far right. He's been with the band for about 38 years, give or take...

Not disappointing for us though... an awesome night... no more serious consequences than a rowdy rude woman spilling beer on us, and a helluva sunburn/windburn left as a reminder. Waiting for that DVD.

LINK: Austin American Stateman newspaper coverage and gallery

EDIT: Here's the setlist:
Rolling Stones Austin Setlist 10/22

You Got Me Rocking
Let's Spend The Night Together
She's So Cold
Oh No Not You Again
Bob Wills Is Still The King
Streets Of Love
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Tumblin' Dice
Learning The Game
Little T&A
Under My Thumb (to b-stage)
Get Off My Cloud
Start Me Up
Honky Tonk Woman (from b-stage)
Sympathy For The Devil
Jumpin' Jack Flash
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Brown Sugar

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Ptelea said...

Thank you for such a great accounting of your wild time!! The lining up and stampede sounds crazy - glad that Mr B. was able to muscle his way to a good spot, especially after you waited all of that time in line.

MB said...

Glad it was rockin' AND that noone got stomped in the mad rush. What a knuckleheaded move THAT was!

Your pics are really good, too!

Ellie said...

I can just see the whole adventure, stampede, the 1/4 mile sprint and all. Looks like you did score a decent spot. How was the sound?

Blueberry said...

The sound was fantastic! And here's how high-tech these people are: The concert could be heard from 10 miles away (I even have an ear-witness!), yet on the front row we did not need ear plugs. I did use them for the opening acts because they were using different equipment. The Stones' crew knows what they are doing. Not only was it heard that far away, it was seen as well because of the fireworks and plain old huge fireballs. Whew!

Blueberry said...

mb: I was nearly crushed in the ticket line for the Stones back in 1972! Ticketmaster (or ticketbastard, as some like to call it) has its advantages.

Fascinating that a bunch of oldsters can still stir up such a frenzy.

Ellie said...

Speaking of ear plugs, I owe you a pair. Next time OK.

BBC said...

Umm, where do you go wee wee?

Blueberry said...

bbc: hopefully nowhere! Not on anyone's shoes, anyway.